In just the past couple of weeks, our nation has been rocked to its moral core by several incidents of violence and terrorism: the hate-inspired shooting of two African American people shopping at their local grocer; the mailing of pipe bombs to two former presidents, the Jewish billionaire philanthropist George Soros, CNN and several other high-profile critics of President Trump’s policies; and, most recently, the tragic murder of 11 members of a Pittsburgh synagogue as the gunman shouted that he wanted to “kill all Jews.”
Just days before this latest string of brutal attacks, the Trump administration reported plans to redefine gender in a way that would effectively render transgender and gender non-binary individuals invisible. While LGBT people have made tremendous advances over the past few decades toward achieving societal acceptance and equal treatment under the law, equal rights for the transgender/gender non-binary community have lagged behind. Since 2016 the Trump administration has zeroed in on this vulnerable population, first threatening to ban transgender individuals from serving in the U.S. military; most recently, by limiting the definition of gender to that documented on birth certificates, threatening to erase their very existence.
On behalf of the Chamber Board of Directors, we rebuke this effort by the Trump administration to deny the existence of transgender individuals in the strongest possible terms. We are honored to represent transgender business owners and individuals in our membership, and we are so proud of our LGBTQIA Rainbow Chamber Foundation Scholars, including several who identify as transgender or gender non-binary.
To those members and leaders, and to the greater transgender community, we stand with you, and we will do everything in our power to prevent the implementation of this inhumane and unjust policy.
To our LGBTQIA youth, please know that these actions taken against you or other members of our community by the current administration are wrong. They are not right or normal or moral or justified. They are not even logical. As terrible as it feels to be attacked in this way by elected officials at the highest levels, please know that most people in this country know it is wrong. We are not going to lie down, and we will not allow them to erase you.
As a Chamber of Commerce, one of our core missions is to support small business owners and to promote leadership and policies that foster small business success and economic prosperity. As an organization of LGBT and allied business owners and professionals, our core mission is to advocate for and defend diversity, inclusion and equal rights for all.
History teaches us that tyrants test their limits on the smallest and weakest populations first, before turning to larger, more challenging targets. An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.
All of the above acts are attacks against American citizens and residents of our country; against freedom of religion; and against our cherished American ideals of democracy, equality and inclusion.
We know that equality–the assurance that all individuals and families have the same rights and are equally protected by the rule of law–is good for society and good for business.
Our colleagues at the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) may have said it best:
The NGLCC and our partners will continue to assert that any attempt to diminish or erase transgender or gender non-binary Americans is both morally reprehensible and economically ruinous for the United States. Gender identity is distinct from biological sex, and neither is a binary to be legislated by the current administration, which has repeatedly demonstrated a desire to turn back the clock on LGBTQ progress. A proposed national policy to limit Americans’ gender identity is not only a repudiation of several major court decisions upholding LGBTQ protections under Title IX, but it also contradicts widely respected and reported scientific and economic evidence. According to NGLCC’s America’s LGBT Economy Report, which has been referenced and acknowledged by countless public and private policy experts, LGBT business owners across the nation bring countless innovations, contribute over $1.7 trillion to the economy, and create tens of thousands of jobs in their communities. Transgender and gender non-binary business owners across our country make up an important piece of these contributions, and their contributions make all of us stronger: they build our roads, improve our schools, and defend our nation. America’s transgender and gender non-binary entrepreneurs add too richly to the social and economic success of our country to be erased by their government.
To our LGB and allied community, we ask that you join us in solidarity with transgender and gender non-binary people against this and similar bigoted and short-sighted policies. One way to make your voice heard: Vote.
Early voting in Sacramento and surrounding counties is underway now. If you have not mailed your ballot, you can find the location and hours of voting centers, ballot drop-off locations and polls on Election Day, Tuesday, November 6, as well as the status of your vote-by-mail or early ballot, at https://voterstatus.sos.ca.gov/.
If you have already cast your ballot, thank you for fulfilling your civic duty. For those who have yet to vote, we know how hectic life can be for small business owners, working professionals and students. We understand that taking the time to get your ballot in on time might seem like just one task too many in a busy day or week. We are asking you, in this critically important midterm election, to make sure your voice is heard: Please vote! Many races this year will be decided by a mere handful of votes, and every vote really does count. Our future depends upon it.
Diana DePaola Fred Palmer
President Executive Director
Gender Health Center
Sacramento LGBT Community Center/QSpot
Sutter Gender Identity Support Group
River City Gems
UC Davis LGBTQIA Resource Center
PFLAG Greater Placer County